Shades of the Past

The old speak of things strange-

of nails in trees and curdling milk,

spells and hairballs and silver. Words

from times and protections long past

modern understanding or belief:

stopping blood with bible verse

and pulling the heat out of a burn

in ways no schooled doctor would condone.

Old ways from old times

when what you had on hand had to do.

You had to fix things yourself even

if those things were evil and witchery.

We laugh nervously and say how quaint

as the old voices whisper

and the shadows drift behind us.

 

Today folklorist Gerry Milnes presented a program on traditional Appalachian storytellers and traditional beliefs of older German descendants in rural eastern West Virginia. Fascinating and chilling, the folks in his video clips were like voices echoing a long gone time and in a way breathing some new life into the things of which they spoke. If you are interested, check out his book and DVD called Signs, Cures and Witchery.

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About grannysu

storyteller, writer, poet, gardener, countrywoman
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2 Responses to Shades of the Past

  1. Those ways are not as gone as you might think. PowWow is still alive and well. My husband’s grandpa was a country doctor. Part of his old healing ways came from this Deutch ancestry. The only trouble was, he was also a bit of a jokester, so his patients weren’t always sure if the cure he told them to follow was for real or a practical joke.

  2. grannysu says:

    True, Granny Kate. And in my area, people still do may thing the old ways.

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